In a somewhat circuitous turn of events, I seem to have created pancakes out of a cake. It started off innocently enough, with an apple sitting on the counter and the arrival of cold weather igniting a fierce craving for gingerbread. A gingerbread apple cake sounded lovely, and I started off with every intention to make just that.
The problem was, it took me a few minutes of prep time to realize that while I was standing around in the kitchen preparing to make gingerbread, it was barely 9 o’clock in the morning. Even I have limits when it comes to gauging the appropriate time to make and eat cake, so there had to be some quick thinking involved if I was going to salvage the potential gingerbread project. Though I admit that there is but a fine line that separates a full-fledged cake from a plate of tiny little pan-cooked cakes, it still seemed like making pancakes at 9AM was a more acceptable practice than churning out a cake as such an hour.
It’s interesting to see what turns a project can take, and these pancakes are no exception. With the pleasant bite of molasses paired with cinnamon and ginger, these are definitely a treat of a breakfast, perfect for a special morning or a holiday brunch with family. But these are also a somewhat virtuous breakfast offering, boasting the heartiness of whole wheat flour combined with the rather demure additions of applesauce and shredded fresh apple. If you are one to drench your pancakes in maple syrup, these can no doubt make for a breakfast of supreme indulgence. If you are like me, however, and can no longer tolerate the joys of unadulterated maple syrup consumption, a dollop of plain or lemon yogurt will make these pancakes shine in a slightly more responsible manner. Either way, they are a joy to eat, and a wonderful treat on a cold winter morning.
Last Year: No-Knead Apple Bread
Gingerbread Apple Pancakes
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups milk
1/3 cup molasses
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small apple, peeled (if the skin is tough—my apple had a very thin skin, so I left it on) and grated, then squeezed in your hands a bit to remove any excess moisture (I ended up with about ½ heaping cup of shredded apple)
¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder, spices, and salt. In a medium bowl, or in a very large measuring cup, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir or whisk to combine. Use a gentle hand when mixing, since over-mixing the batter will result in some very tough pancakes.
Heat a large skillet or griddle over low heat. Spoon batter onto hot griddle and cook until the pancakes appear a bit dry along the edges and bubbles begin to form and barely pop on the surface of the pancake (this can take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes). Gently flip the pancakes over and cook for an additional 2 to 5 minutes (again, depending on the heat of your griddle), until the pancakes are brown and somewhat firm.
Keep cooked pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven while you cook the remaining batter. Serve pancakes with maple syrup, applesauce, or yogurt. Serves 4 to 6 people.